George Starostin's Reviews



Become a Certified Commentator today by following this link!

!!Before adding new comments, please check the GUIDELINES. Don't say I didn't warn you!!


Pedro Andino <> (20.06.2005)

the cranberries are one of the most underrated bands of the 90's. I see you are trying to get hip. even if you stick way more into the 70's. dolores has a cute yet ethereal vocals are as pretty as a girl touching my hair. oh. I see mr. canto loving the cranberries. yes is your favorite and rush. but so have I! I did not know you are into them. but sadly I made one mistake. I got to the faithfull departed (1996) it flopped. I liked it so does love beach. crass I know! but hey I will buy everybody else. pretty vocals!!!!


Fernando Henrique Canto <> (23.02.2003)

My brother-in-law has a couple of Cranberries albums (including the latest one, Wake Up And Smell The Coffee - don't forget that one, George! :), and I got in contact with them a few years ago. I was pleasantly surprised to see these guys' music. Yes, they have a unique essence and identity, and a lovely one, that is. This record is definitely gorgeous. 'Dreams' is fantastic. The way Dolores can harmonise with herself should make the likes of Jon Anderson and Freddie Mercury proud. 'Sunday' is very cute and very catchy, just like practically everything in here. 'Still Can't' has an unbeatable hook in the chorus, and Dolores' changes in intonation in the verses are masterful - not to mention the "still can't recognise the way I feel, I feel, I feel, I feel", of course. 'Waltzing Back' and 'How' are two qute cool rockers, especially the former, with the guitars going up and down, up and down in the end, and that tingly little harmonics line. And 'Put Me Down' is gorgeous! My favourite, though, gotta be 'Linger'. Simply fascinating and enchanting. Yes, this is all pop, but GORGEOUS pop. Gorgeous, period. Yup, this is definitely a "13 in a good day", if not a bit more. I should try to get this album again. I miss it now.

Dave Dickson <> (25.01.2006)

Dear Diamond George. I have a confession to make. After your angry counterpunch to my Goddess in the Doorway ramble-fest three centuries ago, I must admit to having possessed a strong inclination to march me Yank self straight down to the Seventh Sister and slap you silly Zhirnovskiy-like. Didn't do so, for three reasons: a.) It's a long, hard slog to the top of the hill, and most of the stands only sell frickin' club soda, b.) Moscow State is SO cool a building I likely would have bought a souvenir Stalin button, impressed somebody with my bad Russian, and forgotten why I came, and c.) The plane ticket costs almost a thousand bucks and typically goes through Charles De Gualle airport. Still, we can all be glad no real repercussions resulted from Mr. Jagger's "atrocity to good taste", other than my further damning my immortal soul and buying Mandy Moore's self- titled album in a contrarian snit. I still haven't listened to it yet. The point I'm trying to make with all of this verbal detritus is this: Instinctively, viscerally, I have a different concept of "disposable" than the majority of other self-professed music junkies on the web, up to and including thyself, and I don't know why the hell that is. And I honestly wish 't'weren't so. Perhaps it's because I only listened to John Williams movie scores until the age of 15. Perhaps it's because once I dove into the trove of popular (and underground, etc.) music full force, it was to check out "what I've been missing" all this time as opposed to "what THEY'VE been missing" (“they” meaning my Linkin Park-obsessed friends). Or perhaps it's because I'm an independent, contrarian motherfucker. Who goddamn knows. To my addled brain, the concept of "disposable" lies as far away from the arena of intellectualism as possible. It's a purely instinctive term. A song occurs on the radio while I'm driving and the music junky next to me says: "Oh, that's disposable crap. It's oriented toward making money, or it wouldn't exist. C'mon, man, switch to the college station. Oh, wait, its radius is 20 meters. Bloody hell."

And then I'm like, "Wait a minute, mite. Why would it "make money" if PEOPLE didn't bloody like it? People being the operative word, here, mite. I'm a person. You're a person. We're all bleedin' PEOPLE, cor blimey" (*loses ridiculous psychosomatic British accent, recovers self shakily*) "Money is not a robot. Washington, Lincoln, and Jackson do not choose music. They're DEAD. And there's something else going on here than money and stock options and the almighty--OOF" *crashes into Shell Headquarters, blows up Houston* So the point is, money doesn't buy albums, PEOPLE buy albums. (*ducks lawsuit from NRA*) At least SOME of the time (though not nearly all of the time), the bad-taste-saturated masses ("masses" meaning, actually, ME) buy a song not because the powers that, um, emteevee, as it were, tell them to, or because they force themselves to like it, but because they--thoughtfully-- deem it a well-made song, commercial pablum or no. Money-making, by itself, is a foreign concept to me, at least when we're talking on a macro scale. When, say "Vision of Paradise" comes on the radio (it never does), I think, "Hey! Lotsa effort went into that song. It sounds ambitious, albeit derivative. Not too inventive, but labor intensive, I dare say! And pleasant to me ears. Maybe a bunch of dumb people like it, but okay for them! We can't ALL be Al Gore" not "AGGGGH! I bet it sold. And consumers are STUPID. Proof? George Bush and Vladimir Zhirnovskiy." Tag that to my impaired instincts. Many people have.

God, I'm long-winded. EFFORT, dammit. EFFORT is what I look for in everything I listen to, all the time, every time, unto eternity. Intellectual effort, physical effort, compositional effort. Moreover, CONSISTENT effort. USE the length of a CD wisely, don’t just fill it up with substandard hit-imitations that no one wants to listen to. Some albums have that EFFORT smell all over them, under them, and through them on track after track after track, from top to bottom--even if it's completely lacking in the "stylistic innovation" and “non-commerciality” departments. Granted, if it IS lacking in said departments, it MUST compensate for that MIGHTILY by the hooks, the melodies, the arrangements, the moods, and the quality of the songs. Two examples of albums that succeed all the way thusly: (sigh) Def Leppard’s Hysteria and Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar. Now why do I say that? Why incur judgment on myself and my progeny by such apparently MTV-worshiping heresy about two albums I should, by rights, hate? Well, it’s like this. Both albums have hits. The hits are either great or typical radio crap, depending on who you are. In any case, they’re all most people ever hear from the album if they don’t buy it (and sometimes even if they do). But EVERY OTHER SONG ON THE ALBUM IS OF THE SAME CONSISTENCY. At least, that’s what I determined after close listen. Like them or hate them, one can’t help but be struck by the consistency. They didn’t just sit down, compose the hits and videos, then crank out a string of sub-par filler blech like they could have. They used the same effort on the so-called “album tracks” as they did on the hits. They the CD space to good purpose. I like that. I respect that. And I reward that with an overlong reader comment about the Cranberries’ debut on your website. On the other hand. . . as we all know, most commercial albums (and bands) don’t do that, ever. Most albums just contain two singles and a sea of shit, and call that work. Call it “enough.” THAT’S what I call blatant commercially calculating pablum—not respecting the fan’s intelligence enough to offer more than a few decent songs, or worse, not expecting him to listen to anything other than those two, so as to get away with filler-itis beyond belief. They figure it’s okay to be inconsistent. Be lazy, if you will. Take advantage of the fact that the consumer may skip any song he doesn’t like and pick and choose what he will. Um. . . fellas, the time to do that was when YOU were recording the songs, not when the listener’s already bought the album and is trying to sort through the crap.

Like. . . say. . .(drumroll) THIS album. (dun-dun-DAH)

To be fair, it would be wrong for me to characterize the filler on Everyone Else is Doing It So Why Can’t We as “crap”—it’s just average. The impression I get is, “Hmm, these fellas (and lady) seem rather nice. I’d want to invite them into MY living room. Perhaps we could play backgammon and discuss some Yeats.”

Seriously, I mean. They have a pleasant, warm tone, professional musicianship, and a uniquely-toned singer. They give me visions of dark living room furnishings, coffeehouses and, occasionally, once or twice, forests of Evermore.

I could seriously deal with more of that consarned Evermore. The two singles on here, “Dreams” and “Linger,” RULE. They are just so incredibly gorgeous and well-crafted and just WOW that they BRING Celtland to your home in person. They are also so far above the rest of the songs on here it’s not even funny. I can’t prove this, but I would bet money that the singles were recorded long, long before the rest of the songs, the rest being recorded in a rush session months after the painstaking recordings of the hits. The difference, not just in songwriting, but in production quality and arrangement, is almost tangible.

What we have beyond “Dreams” and “Linger” is pleasant, average, tasteful. . . averageness. Average songs, average vibe, average. . . averageness. Sarah McLachlan’s Surfacing and Cat Power’s Moon Pix suffer the same problem, but nowhere near as drastically as this. At least those records show SINGS of immense talent behind the filler. THIS, however. . . well, it gives no indication of the Cranberries being anything more than a singles-and-filler band incarnate. The only thing that puts this above your generic R&B album today, in terms of consistency, is the innovative style and the vocal prowess. That Dolores lady—she got some pipes. And I will admit, I like the guitar tone.

But why do I call it “average”? Pretty simple—these songs are simple, short, completely lacking in dynamics or drama, unambitious in terms of emotional impact, and—most importantly—not incredibly gripping in the melodic department. They just do their thing and go. Without incredible melodies, they function as lyrical confession and background music. Sure, they’re pretty if you’re in the mood, but I’m only in the mood 15% of the time. Inconsistency—I’m guilty of it too. FIE!

But “Dreams”! “Linger”! My God. If they sounded good on the radio back in the day, they sound positively glorious on CD nowadays. Why couldn’t they have filled the album with great songs like these? Why, George? Answer me. Ansah me now (Arnold Schwarznegger tone).

Oops. I just flicked back to your review. It seems you deem it one of the most consistent albums of the decade. I swear to God, I didn’t read that before typing this, er, atrocity. Fie on my bad timing.

So. I like consistency, and I don’t get it from these guys and girl. But I ain’t giving up on them. May their next album have many songs as good as “Dreams” and “Linger.”

You know what? Most of their fans back in 1993 probably became fans on the sole basis of “Dreams” and “Linger,” and couldn’t care less about the other songs on here. I’m not a careless man, sir. I’m a careFUL man. And I keep my comments to the point. Short and sweet. Like a chocolate rabbit. Mm, mm.

But seriously, my standards extend over the course of the whole album, not just the hits. As do yours, apparently. Therefore, our ears must be differently composed. Ever watch Star Trek? I think you might be Mr. Spock. That’s a compliment, by the way.


Fernando Henrique Canto <> (23.02.2003)

Yes, a little inferior, unfortunately, but still darned great. You're pretty much spot on with the highlight tracks: 'Ode To My Family' is easily one of these guys' best songs ever. Very, very subtle and touching; 'Zombie'... now, I knew this song from a dreadful "techno" interpretation. Serious!! I wonder how do those bastards managed to DO IT, but I swear I remember the chick going "In your heead, in your heed, zombie, zombie, zombie-e-e", hopping along the drum machines. Needless to say, the Cranberries' original absolutely rules. For some reason, I have always been enchanted by 'Everything I Said', no matter how Cranberrically generic it might sound... but yes, some of these songs are quite unsubstantial, when compared to their debut. Still, there are some mighty fine spots in here. 'Ridiculous Thoughts' is catchy as damn, and I have always liked 'Daffodil Lament'. I dunno if it sounds too long to me. It's just a matter of recognising the two different sections of the song, I think. Anyway, this is a 11/15, really.


Fernando Henrique Canto <> (23.02.2003)

My goodness, did this album freak me out the first times. You know, this is SUCH a straightforward album, and scarily un-cranberry...Sincerely, I dislike the album more than you do, and I didn't think you would rate it so highly. Indeed, there are good songs in here, but in albums like the debut, good songs were the GENERAL RULE. Here, you have to set the good songs apart from the bad ones! Gee. Plus, why does EVERY SECOND SONG has to have an annoying synth solo at the end? But, anyway, I have always loved 'When You're Gone', no matter what. Beautiful, almost in a 'Linger' way. 'Hollywood' is surprisingly good, and even 'Free To Decide' is quite catchy, in spite of its genericism. 'Forever Yellow Skies' is rather fun, and 'The Rebels' is nice, too. But then... Heck, I was never able to fully enjoy 'Salvation', even if the MUSIC rules. Dolores annoys the hell out of me with her vocals in this one! 'War Child' is achingly stupid, and yes, 'I Just Shot John Lennon' is totally unnecessary and unenjoyable (does that word even exist?). It seems Dolores was dedicating this album to all the "Departed" people who were important in her life, and that's what John Lennon is doing here - also her uncle Joe and one of the band's managers woshisface Cordell (yes, it's not a lost love :), who died one year before, if I'm not mistaken. Fortunately, those last two songs are quite darn beautiful. But I never liked 'I'm Still Remembering' - TOO generic and forced, and 'Will You Remember' sounds WAY too silly for my tastes. And what's with 'Electric Blue', anyway? I have nothing against putting Latin lyrics in a song (seeing as I have done so myself, but HEY, I had an actual Cantus Recidivus written by a friend of mine a few days ago - kudos to me! But more importantly, kleos to her!), but the song itself is stupid, too. And, please, don't even mention 'Bosnia'. Anyway, I don't think this gets more than a 7, even with much struggle. Still, I shall SMITE you someday for mentioned the dreaded A.L. person in a Cranberries review, even if it's in their worst album!

PS: By the way, the covers of both Bury The Hatchet and Wake Up And Smell The Coffee were designed and shot by Storm Thorgerson - yes, the Hipgnosis dude, who made the Pink Floyd covers! I think the latter has the best Cranberries cover, and one of my favourite album covers of all time.


No reader comments yet.


No reader comments yet.

Return to the main index page